Saturday, June 12, 2010

Vietnamese Beef Soup (Pho Bo)

When we went to Dallas bring my son for a basketball tournament in April, we stopped by a Vietnamese place for lunch.  They had one of the best Vietnamese beef noodle soups we've had in a long time.  There is just something about the combination of cinnamon, 5 star anise, nutmeg, Asian basil and ginger that is so... comforting.  Hubby always orders this soup at EVERY Vietnamese restaurant so I tried making it at home.  This recipe is loosely adapted from a Food Network recipe.  I added nutmeg, scallions and Asian basil and instead of searing the beef, I placed paper-thin, raw beef in soup bowls and allowed it cook gently by adding the super hot broth. The beef is very tender and flavorful this way.  I use a Rival deli slicer at home to make paper-thin cuts of sirloin but if you just freeze the beef for about 20-30 minutes, you can use a regular Santoku knife to get thin slices.  For the broth, it is important to use the best beef stock you can find.

In celebration of the exquisite flavors and spices in Vietnamese cuisine, this is my contribution to Delicious Vietnam created by A Food Lovers Journey and Ravenous Couple.

 Vietnamese Beef Soup (Pho Bo)

3 cups beef stock/ broth
1 onion, halved
4" piece ginger, halved
1 cinnamon stick
5 star anise pods
1 whole nutmeg
12 oz, paper thin slices of sirloin
8 oz. rice noodles (or Japanese odon noodles if rice noodles are not available)
4 scallions
2 jalapenos
1/2 cup cilantro
2-4 Tbsp fish sauce
Kosher salt and pepper
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
sprigs of Asian basil (bung que or rau que) but may be substituted with purple basil when these are not available)
1 lime, cut into quarters

Place broth in a large pot over high heat and add onion, ginger, cinnamon, 5 star anise and nutmeg.  Pour in the beef stock and let the broth simmer for 25 minutes.  Add fish sauce and boil for 5 minutes. Meanwhile place rice noodles, thinly sliced beef, scallions, cilantro and bean sprouts in 4 soup bowls.  Remove the ginger, star anise, nutmeg and cinnamon stick from the broth and discard. Take the onion and slice it thinly and place in the soup bowl.  Pour the piping hot broth into the bowls to cook the beef.  Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and some lime juice.


Ravenous Couple said...

your broth looks beautiful! thank you for this great submission..hopefully there will be many more!

Jackie said...

Oh wow, you totally read my mind. I LOVE PHO. I've been craving some really good pho of late, actually. My only real downfall to making it myself is that the noodles we get over here aren't amazing quality (and I'm too scared to make them myself) and I'm far too lazy to make my own stock. We have storage issues in the fridge/freezer in my flat so until I've got my own place with the biggest fridge/freezer in the world, I hold off on making my own stock.

I may, however, have to make an exception for this because I do love my pho... thanks for the recipe!

Jax x

Gourmande said...

That sounds really delicious.
Several of my Vietnamese friends do for you for the beef. Indeed, they use 2 sorts, one to make the broth, and some raw added last minute. As I like making beef broth from scratches, I have so much boiled meat to use that I don't add more.

The Cilantropist said...

Pho is one of my absolute fav foods!!! I made my own broth once and there was nothing better. :) Thanks esp for the tip on freezing the beef before you cut it!

Anonymous said...

This soup sounds wonderful! I am glad to learn more about Vietnamese cuisine which I know so little of.

tigerfish said...

I enjoy a good bowl of Pho Bo once in a while too! Your bowl of Pho Bo is making me drool....

Katerina said...

This Pho Bo looks very tasty. I am tempted even though here in Greece the temperature is 37 degrees Celcius.

Arlene said...

This looks delicious. Love the combination of spices and seasonings.

Mimi said...

Simply gorgeous! Lovely falvors.

Deborah said...

I don't know a lot about Vietnamese food, but this makes me want to learn more and try more!!

Mary said...

What a lovely recipe for one of my favorite soups. You've also made it beautiful to look at. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Patty said...

Wow. I an a die-hard fan of Pho noodle soup, in particular, the beef noodle soup! I never thought about letting the hot broth cook the meat, but you are totally right! That would make for some gorgeously light and succulent meat! Will try that the next time I make this soup! thanks for sharing!

Devaki said...

Oh how wonderful! I am so very glad you stopped in to say hello otherwise I would never have found your blog. The food you cook is just the kind I LOVE!

The pho soup is marvelous. Can't wait for more :)

Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

Sandra said...

Thank you so much for that recipe. I have a thai restaurant here and they make a fantastic soup. I tried to make it at home, but there was always something missing.. I couldnt figure out what. Now I know.. must have been the anise. :-)